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Great Feast of the Holy Theophany of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ - Celebration Great Blessing of Water Prayer

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Great Blessing of Water Prayer Liturgical

This Great Blessing of Water text is from Byzantine Melkite Euchologion published by the Eparchy of Newton (Our Lady of the Annunciation (Al Bisharah) in Roslindale, MA), Roslindale, Massachusetts, United States. These books are available from Sophia Press, Eparchy of Newton (Our Lady of the Annunciation (Al Bisharah) in Roslindale, Massachusetts, United States).

After the Prayer behind the Ambon at the end of the Divine Liturgy, the clergy go in procession, with candles and censer, to the place where the Blessing of the Water is to take place.

In normal practice today, a large vessel of water is prepareded on a special table in the center of the church.

Meanwhile, the following stichera are swung in the 8th tone.

~ The voice of the Lord upon the waters cries aloud saying: Come all, and receive the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of the fear of God, from Christ who is made manifest.

~ Today the nature of the waters is sanctified, and the Jordan is parted in two; it holds back the stream of its own waters, seeing the Master wash Himself.

~ O Christ the King, You have come to the river as a man, and in your goodness You hastened to receive the baptism of a servant at the hands of the Forerunner, for the sake of our sins, O You who love mankind.

~ Glory be to the Father, and to die Son, and to die Holy Spirit, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.

At the voice of one crying out in the desert, "Make ready the way of the Lord," You have come O Lord, taking the form of a servant, and You who knew not sin ask for Baptism. The waters saw You and shuddered; the Forerunner was seized with trembling and cried aloud saying: "How shall the lamp illuminate the Light? How shall the servant set his hand upon the Master?" O Savior, who take away the sin of the world, sanctify both me and the water.

THE PROPHECIES

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: A Reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (35:1-10)

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Reader: The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
"Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you."
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God's people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: A Reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (55:1-13)

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Reader: All you who thirst,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the mytrle;
and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: A Reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (12:3-6)

Deacon: Let us be attentive!

Reader: With joy you will draw water from die wells of
salvation. And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the LORD,
call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

EPISTLE

Priest: Let us be attentive!

Reader: Blessed is the way in which you shall walk today,
for a place of rest is prepared for you.

To You, O Lord, I call: O my God, be not deaf to me.

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: A reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (10:1-4).

Priest: Let us be attentive!

Reader: BRETHREN: I do not want you to be unaware, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

Priest: Peace to you, O reader.

Reader: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Priest: Wisdom. Let us stand and listen to the holy Gospel. Peace to all.

Reader: And to your spirit.

Priest: The holy Gospel according to St. Mark the Evangelist. (1:9-11)

Reader: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You!

Priest: Let us be attentive!

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Reader: Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You!

Then the Deacon sings the following Litany and the priest prays secretly, the prayer below:

Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For peace from on high and salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For peace in the whole world, the well-being of the holy churches of God and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this holy place and for those who enter it with faith, reverence and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For our Bishop (or Archbishop) (Name), the reverend priests, the deacons in Christ, and for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For our public servants, for the government and for the armed forces, that they may be upheld and strengthened in every good deed, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this city (or monastery), for every city and country place and faithful dwelling in them, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth and for peaceful times let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the travelers by sea, air and land, for the sick, the suffering, for those in captivity and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That this water may be sanctified by the power, actions and descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the purifying action of the supersubstantial Trinity may descend upon this water, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the grace of redemption, and the blessing of the Jordan may be sent down into it by the power, action and descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the Lord our God may swiftly crush Satan beneath our feet, and that every counsel that is directed against us by the Evil One may be made of no effect, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the Lord our God will deliver us from every attack and temptation of the Adversary, and make us worthy of the good things that are promised, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That we may be illumined with the light of understanding and piety through the descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That this water may become a gift of sanctification, a remission of sins, a cure for the soul and body, and become beneficial for every need, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the Lord our God may send down the blessing of the Jordan and sanctify this water, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That this water may become a fountain springing up to eternal life, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That this water may prove effective to avert every plot of our visible and invisible enemies, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For those who drink of this water, and take it with them for the sanctification of their homes let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That it may be, for those who drink and receive it in faith, a purification of their souls and bodies, let us pray to die Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That we may be worthy to be filled with sanctification, as we receive of this water, through the coming of the Holy Spirit in an invisible manner, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That the Lord our God may hear the voice of our supplication, let us pray to die Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and need, let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by your grace.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Let us remember our all-holy, spotless, most highly blessed and glorious Lady the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, and commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ God.

Choir: To You, O Lord.

While the Deacon sings the litany, the Priest prays, secretly the following prayer.

Priest: O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, who are in the bosom of the Father, true God, source of life and immortality, Light of Light, who came into the world to illuminate it, enlighten our minds with your Holy Spirit, and accept us who offer to You glory and thanksgiving/or all jour great and wondrous works from all ages and for your plan of redemption in these last times. For You have clothed yourself in our poor and infirm nature, and have submitted yourself to servitude, You who are King of all; and moreover You have accepted to be baptised in the Jordan by the hand of a servant, that having sanctified the nature of the waters, O sinless Lord, You might lead us to a new birth through water and the Spirit, and restore us again to our original freedom. Calling then to mind this divine mystery, we entreat You, O Master who love mankind: sprinkle upon us, your unworthy servants, according to your divine promise, cleansing water, the gift of your compassion; grant that the petition of us sinners over this water may be acceptable unto your goodness, and that thereby your blessing may be granted to us and to all your faithful people unto the glory of your holy and exalted name. For all glory, honor and worship are your due, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever. Amen.

Then the priest has the option to say aloud the following prayer, composed by Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Priest: O Trinity, transcendent in essence, in goodness and in divinity, O Almighty, invisible and incomprehensible, who watch over all, O Creator of intelligent essences, of natures endowed with speech, O Goodness of utter and unapproachable brilliance, who enlighten every person who comes into the world: enlighten me also, your unworthy servant! Illuminate the eyes of my mind, that I may venture to praise your immeasurable goodness and your might; may the prayer that I offer be acceptable for the people here present. Let not my sins prevent the descent of the Holy spirit upon this place, but permit me now without condemnation to cry out to You, O all-good Lord, and to say: We glorify You, O Master and Lover of Mankind, Almighty King before eternity! We glorify You, Creator and Maker of all! We glorify You, only-begotten Son, who have no father with your Mother, and no mother with your Father.

In the preceding feast, we have seen You as a child, and in this present feast we see You as a perfect Man, O our perfect God, appearing out of Perfection: for today we have attained the time of feasting, and the ranks of saints have joined us, and the angels celebrate together with men; today the grace of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon the waters; today there shines the Sun that never sets, and the world is sparkling with the light of the Lord; today the moon shines upon the world with the brightness of its rays; today the glittering stars adorn the universe with the radiance of their twinkling; today the clouds from heaven shed upon man a shower of justice; today the Uncreated One willingly permits the hands of his creature to be laid upon Him, today the Prophet and Forerunner comes close to the Master, and he stands in awe, a witness of the condescension of God towards us; today through the presence of the Lord the waters of the Jordan River are changed into remedies; today the whole universe is refreshed with mystical streams; today the sins of mankind are blotted out by the waters of the Jordan River; today paradise has been opened to mankind, and the Sun of righteousness has shone upon us; today the bitter water, as once with Moses and the people of Israel, is changed into sweetness by the presence of the Lord; today we are delivered from the ancient mourning, and, like a new Israel, we are saved; today we escape from darkness and, through the light of the knowledge of God, we are illumined; today the darkness of the world vanishes with the appearing of our God; today the whole creation is brightened from on high; today errors are canceled, and a way of salvation is prepared for us by the coming of the Lord; today the heavenly dwellers rejoice with those of the earth, and the dwellers of the earth with those of heaven; today the noble and eloquent assembly rejoices, the assembly of those of the true faith; today the Lord comes to be baptized, so that mankind may be lifted up; today the One who never has to bow inclines Himself before his servant so that He may set us free from bondage; today we have acquired the kingdom of heaven: for the Lord's kingdom shall have no end.

Today the land and the sea divide between them the joy of the world, and the world is filled with gladness. The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You and shuddered; the Jordan River turns back its course as it beholds the fire of the Godhead coming down upon it and entering it in the flesh; the Jordan River turns back its course as it beholds the Holy Spirit descending in the form f a dove, and hovering above it; the Jordan River turns back its course as it beholds the Invisible made visible, the Creator existing in the flesh, and the Master in the form of a servant; the Jordan River turns back its course, and the mountains shout with glee as they behold God in the flesh. And the clouds give voice, and are filled with awe by the One who is coming, Light of light, true God of true God; for today in the Jordan River they saw the triumph of the Master; they saw Him drown in the Jordan River the death of sin, the thorn of error, and the bond of Hades, and bestow upon the world the baptism of salvation. So also am I, your unworthy and sinful servant, encompassed by fear as I proclaim your great wonders; and I cry out reverently to You, and say:

The priest then says in a louder voice:

GREAT ARE YOU, O LORD, AND MARVELOUS ARE YOUR WORKS AND NO WORD IS SUFFICIENT TO PRAISE YOUR MARVELS (3X).

For by your divine will You brought forth all things out of nothing into being; by your might you control all creation; by your providence You govern the universe, O You who made the whole world out of four elements and crowned the cycle of the year with four seasons.

The immaterial powers tremble before You; the sun praises You; the moon glorifies You; the stars bless You; the light obeys You; the tempests tremble, and the springs adore You. You have spread out the heavens like a tent-cloth; You fixed the earth upon the waters; You have walled about the sea with sand; You let the air flow about for our breathing. The angelic powers minister to You; the ranks of archangels worship You; the many-eyed Cherubim and the six-winged Seraphim, standing around You and flying about You, hide their faces in fear of your unapproachable glory. And You, O God, while remaining boundless, without beginning, and beyond all words deigned to come down upon earth, to assume the likeness of a servant, and to become like man. Because of your compassionate mercy, O Master, You were unable to endure and to behold the race of mankind under the tyranny of the devil. Consequently, You have come to save us. We acknowledge your grace. We proclaim your mercy, and we do not conceal your gracious acts. You have set mankind free; by your birth You have sanctified the Virgin's womb; and since your manifestation all creation praises You. For You, O our God, have appeared on earth and have dwelt among men. You sanctified the waters of the Jordan by sending down your Holy Spirit from heaven, and you have crushed the heads of the dragons who lurk there.

The Priest makes the sign of the Cross over the water three times, each time saying:

THEREFORE, O KING AND LOVER OF MANKIND, ALSO BE PRESENT NOW THROUGH THE DESCENT OF YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AND SANCTIFY + THIS WATER.

And give to it the grace of redemption and the blessing of the Jordan. Make it a source of incorruptibility, a gift of sanctification, a remission of sins, a remedy for sickness, a destruction of demons, inaccessible to the adverse powers, and filled with the might of your angels, so that all who drink and receive of it may be blessed in their souls and bodies, healed of their sufferings, sanctified in their homes, and may receive every befitting grace.

~ For You are our God, who, with water and the Spirit, restored our nature made old by sin.

~ You are our God, who drowned sin in the waters at the time of Noah.

~ You are our God, who in the sea, and at the hands of Moses, delivered the Hebrews from the bondage of Pharaoh.

~ You are our God who cleaved the rock in the wilderness, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed, and your thirsty people were satisfied.

~ You are our God who, with fire and water and at the hands of Elijah, delivered Israel from the errors of Baal.

THEREFORE, O MASTER, SANCTIFY THIS WATER BY YOUR HOLY SPIRIT (3X).

Grant sanctification, blessing, cleansing and health to all those who touch it, and to those upon whom it is poured, and to those who receive of it.

Save, O Lord, your servants, our public authorities (3X).

Keep them under your protection in peace; subdue under their feet every enemy and adversary; grant them the means of salvation and eternal life, so that your all-holy name may be glorified by the elements, by the angels, by men, by visible and invisible creatures, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever.

Choir: Amen.

Priest: Peace to all.

Choir: And to your spirit.

Deacon: Bow your heads to the Lord.

Choir: To You, O Lord.

The Priest, bowing his head, says the following prayer silently:

Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear us. O You who sanctified the water when You consented to be baptised in the Jordan River: bless us all who, through the bowing of our heads, have signified our bondage, and make us worthy to be filled with your sanctification through the reception and the sprinkling of this water. Let it be, O Lord, for the health of our soul and body.I

Aloud

For You are our sanctification and we give glory to You, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and for ever and ever.

Choir: Amen.

And the Priest immerses the precious cross up and down in the holy water, holding it straight, and recites the Troparion of the Theophany:

TROPARION (First Tone)

At your baptism in the River Jordan, O Lord, the worship of the Trinity was revealed, for the voice of the Father bore witness to You by calling You beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. O Christ God, who appeared and filled the world with light, glory to You!

He sprinkles with the holy water the sanctuary, the four corners of the church and all the people, while the choir sings the following:

IDIOMELON (Sixth Tone)

Choir: Believers, let us praise the great plans of God who works for us: for the only pure and spotless One, being incarnate on account of our fall, purifies us in the Jordan River, sanctifies us together with the waters, and crushes the heads of the dragons in the waters. O brethren, let us therefore draw water with joy, for those who draw it in faith shall be invisibly endowed with the grace of the Spirit, through the presence of Christ God, the Savior of our souls.

Choir: Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever (3X).

The people approach to drink from the Holy Water, while Psalm 33 is read, and then liturgy concludes in the usual way.

PSALM 33 Praise of God the Protector of the Just

- I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips
- My soul shall glory in the Lord:
The humble shall hear and rejoice.

- Glorify the Lord with me.
Let us praise his name together.
- I sought the Lord and he answered me;
and delivered me from all my fears.

- Approach the Lord and be enlightened;
and your faces shall never be shamed.
- This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him
and rescued him from all his affliction.

The angel of the Lord will set up camp
around those who revere Him, to rescue them.
- Taste and see how good the Lord is
blessed are they who seek refuge in Him.

- Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones,
they lack nothing, those who fear Him.
- The rich have become poor and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord shall lack no blessing.

- Come, children, hear me:
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord
- Who are they who long for life
and many days, to enjoy prosperity?

- Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from seeking deceit.
- Turn away from evil and do good,
seek peace and pursue it.

- The Lord turns his face against the wicked,
to erase their memory from the earth.
- The Lord turns his eyes to the just,
and his ears to their appeal.

- They call and the Lord hears them,
and rescues them from all distress.
- The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

- Many are the trials of the just,
but from them all the Lord will save him.
- He keeps guard over all their bones,
not a single one of their bones shall be broken.

- Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate what is right will be condemned.
- The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
Those who hope in him shall not be condemned.


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
Web URL address: Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center or http://www.mliles.com/melkite/
E-mail: mliles@mliles.com or mliles@mliles.com

Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is an unofficial Melkite Greek Catholic Web site and has not been reviewed or approved by any Melkite clergy person.
Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center contains a range of World Wide Web sites on Melkite faith, belief, practice, history, etc. Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center does not endorse any World Wide Web site nor takes any responsibility for the contents of any World Wide Web site. Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center offers these links with the understanding that Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center can not vouch for any of the contents on each site. Listing a site does not indicate acceptance nor endorsement of the doctrines / ideas / theology of the World Wide Web site. Please remember that Web sites will change their content and their location. It is the user's responsibility to decide whether or not the content on a particular World Wide Web site is appropripate.

Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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